{17/03/2012}   What do you eat for dinner when you’re tired, hungry and in need of a quick fix?

There are days when I am desperately hungry in the evening and know I will not get to eat at a decent time. I usually end up getting a ready prepared salad or a series of snack type foods. Neither option ever quite hits the spot. I refuse to buy conventional ready meals as I fear that could be a slippery slope, plus they largely taste horrid and are full of salt. So what to do when you need a substantial meal quickly? Don’t be excited, I have no answers, but I may come up with some during the course of writing this.

Tortellini and other filled pasta with a tub of, say, pesto could work but that’s bordering on a ready meal and never quite satisfies.

I tried dips and nachos once but that made me eat too much too fast and I ended up feeling sick and craving vegetables.

Omelette could work but is a bit light and oven chips take too long and salad doesn’t add hugely to the substance of it. Omelette with a bit of steak could work? Maybe some salad on the side? Ooo, I quite like the sound of that.

Can’t do speedy jacket potatoes as don’t have a microwave, but they could be ok.

I usually have emergency pizza in the freezer but when it’s late and I’m hungry that doesn’t usually sit well in my stomach.

Pasta Arrabiata is possible but sometimes the pasta process, ridiculously, takes too long.

Toast, even cheese on toast, doesn’t feel like a dinner, more a lunch.

Soup, no. Not filling and not feeling the soup love these days.

As a bit of an aside, I know of someone who, six days a week, only eats M&S lemon chicken ready meals. Yes, really. Digression. Mind you, he wouldnt struggle with these dilemmas, would he?!

Rice takes too long.

A friend of mine makes extra food, like a stew, and freezes it. I imagine you could defrost and cook straight away? I should look into freezing things, I am not sure if you can defrost in a pan/an oven. But that could work. I have researched: bacteria grows between 5-60c. If you cook food, particularly meat of course, from frozen the outside will heat up quickly to safe temperatures. As the inside will take longer, you will probably end up with dried-out meat. But the general consensus seems to be that stew or dishes with small pieces of meat, including chicken and all its salmonella warnings, is ok to cook in the oven from frozen. Likewise, if you chop frozen meat into thin slices, it is ok to stir fry, as long as you get it steaming hot throughout. I see a microwave’s defrost facility being of use in such emergency situation.

I used to keep fishfingers and potato waffles in my freezer for such evenings but, while my diet may not be going well, I rarely want or eat dinners like that anymore. But with baked beans and a fried egg, that’s an old favourite comfort food dish!

I guess if you can stop at a shop you could get ingredients for a quick stir fry. That could work as I would usually pass a mini supermarket.

Sometimes a salad is ok. I went through a brief phase of getting supermarket rotisserie chicken to go with salad. That worked quite well until I had some chicken that was so rotisseried that the bones pretty much couldn’t be distinguished from the meat. I was so horrified I haven’t eaten that for over a year!

Sometimes, you just want there to be someone at home who has a hot, healthy, substantial and delicious meal ready for you when you walk in the door … ideally with a large glass of wine!


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